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Latest report on foodcrop shortages shows 30 countries in need of emergency assistance

FAO's latest report on Foodcrops and Shortages shows the number of countries needing emergency assistance down to 30 from 36 in June. This reflects the gradual tailing off of the adverse weather conditions associated with the 1997/98 El Niño.

The countries in need of emergency assistance are: Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Korea DPR, Laos, Liberia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Zambia.

There is some improvement in Sudan where the famine situation has been eased by food aid distribution, though many displaced people are still at risk. FAO says that aid will need to be continued for some months to come. Although recent abundant rains have improved prospects for this year's harvests, production in areas affected by insecurity, earlier dry weather and recent floods is expected to be severely reduced.

Also in the eastern African subregion, the food supply situation in Somalia - where the recently harvested crop is the fifth reduced harvest in a row - gives cause for serious concern.

In Asia, torrential rains and flooding have wreaked havoc, particularly in China, Bangladesh, Republic of Korea and Korea DPR. Thousands of people have been killed and many more have lost their homes. Meanwhile, farmers in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam have seen their harvests hit by drought.

The tail-end effects of El Niño have cut foodcrop production in Cuba, hit 1998 maize crops in parts of Mexico and damaged first season crops in Ecuador.

In the CIS a reduced grain crop is being harvested because of dry spells and shortages of vital agricultural inputs. On the economic front, there are mounting fears that grain trade will be disrupted by the rouble crisis.

7 October 1998

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